Friday, June 24, 2022

Unboxing: Fairyloot's "Cloak & Dagger" (May 2022)

We have another Fairyloot unboxing! It's been a bit since I got a box as I skipped April but I am so incredibly excited about this one. I figured out the book when it was revealed and was excited to finally get my copy. Plus, in my opinion, the customizations were gorgeous this month! Without further ado, let's dive in! (I also apologize for the poorer quality on the pictures this time...the weather and my camera did not want to cooperate). 

Up first, we have a bottle opener inspired by Red Rising by Pierce Brown designed by @ironandinkdesigns. I quite like this bottle opener as it's a cool shape and seems pretty sturdy. However, I live with a bartender so we have plenty of bottle openers and I'm not sure how much use this will get. I do think it's a useful item, though. I'm also interested in reading this series when the sixth book comes out. 

Then we got a mug inspired by Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan designed by @kudriaken. The artwork is pretty nice on this mug and I always like practical items. Mugs, for me, are great because I can use them on my bookshelves for artwork and bookmark storage. I don't tend to use bookish mugs for actual drinks, though, as I have other mugs for those. I'm pretty happy with this item and I can only hope I'll enjoy this book so that I can keep my current growing merch collection for it. 

The third item was a stardust tea strainer inspired by the book of the month, The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, and designed by I'm really on the fence about this item. For starters, I don't drink tea and the only other person in my house who does drink it doesn't use loose leaves. I also think that the wooden part that holds the strainer will get wet from tea and might hold smells. I do love the design, though, so I might keep the wooden holder on my shelf for decoration and just use the little strainer basket for something else. 

Then we got two scrunchies inspired by From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout and designed by @catarinabookdesigns. I actually use silk scrunchies primarily so these will probably get used. I like the designs as well, as it's just generic art and a quote. I don't particularly like scrunchies that have character art on them so these ones work well for my tastes. I also have read this book series so I'm always happy to have additional merch for it. 
The last item was the next two foiled mythology bookmarks designed by @gracezhuart. This is a collectible series with new items every few months. This month was numbers three and four which show Loki and Kumiho. I like the artwork, though I wish the artwork was more consistent from the first two bookmarks as I think I liked those a bit more. I'm quite excited to see where this collectible series continues from here, though.
The two tarot cards this month are inspired by These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan and designed by @arz28. The first card is The Hierophant featuring Sebastian and Finnian. The second card is The Empress featuring Brie. I adore the artwork on these. I'm really liking the artwork lately for their tarot cards as when they initially brought out the first set I wasn't as much of a fan. Now that I like the artwork more, I'm quite excited to collect these. I'm also going to try and collect all of them this time around. I've also read this book and really enjoyed it so it's always fun to have a bit of merch. 

The book of the month is The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. This Fairyloot edition has an exclusive cover, purple sprayed edges, foil embossing on the hardcover designed by @artbyemmilinne, artwork on the endpages designed by @jhocaaa, and is signed. It came with an author letter with an art print on the back designed by @artbyemmilinne. I love the customizations on this. While there aren't stenciled edges like some people expect, I like the purple edges just how they are. 

Now, my copy did come with a bit of glue stuck to the endpages, dust cover, and first few pages. When I opened the book, these little bits ripped slightly. With the dust jacket on it's not noticeable but I have submitted a query on if the damage is enough for an exchange/replacement. Mainly because the dust jacket is now super thin in a few places and might rip through eventually and have a hole. However, I did contact Fairyloot and have already received a replacement copy which is amazing. I'll be sending the slightly damaged one to a friend and I'm quite happy to have a copy free from imperfections. 

Overall, I liked this box but it definitely was my least favorite of 2022. The tea strainer, while beautiful, is not something I see myself or anyone around me using. And while I may use the scrunchies, it's more likely they'll sit in a merch box until I can display my merch collection. However, I am really excited to read this book and love that the color changes were to purple as it's my favorite color. I am intrigued to see what June will be like with two books and am pretty excited about those. 

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Sunday, June 12, 2022

Book Series Review: "Raybearer" by Jordan Ifueko

Series Title: Raybearer
Author: Jordan Ifueko
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Reading Order & Individual Ratings:
  1. Raybearer - 4.5 // 5
  2. Redemptor - 4.5 // 5
Overall Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

This duology is so slept on and I cannot believe more people aren't talking about this! I thoroughly enjoyed it and am definitely looking forward to revisiting this world in the future.

So I hadn't heard much about Raybearer online, just a few posts here or there which is strange as it is a NYT Bestseller. But it was always on my radar to eventually pick up. When it went on sale, I snatched it up quick. A few months later, here we are. 

I binged this duology back to back and it was wonderful. I was sucked in from the beginning and binged both books in about one sitting each. I was so invested in this duology and I just had to know how things ended. The first book was such an insane conclusion and the sequel picked right up off that energy and just kept that pace up. It was an addicting story that I couldn't put down.

This world is so vibrant and fascinating. I absolutely loved the magic system, world building, and just overall writing. I especially love the focus put on family and strong relationships and how magic was used within them. The world is a lot to take in, but we're given what we need to understand it and it's easy to understand once you get it down. Additionally, we don't get more information than we need to understand the story. This just means I want to know more about the world (through additional novels, informational guides, etc) outside of this story.

I loved the main character. Her internal struggles, her growth, her love for those around her, her desire to make the world a better place...she was great. I was sucked into her journey and she was such a compelling main character. Of course, I enjoyed the side characters as well. Overall, I just think that the entire cast of characters were really well written and fun to read. 

I will say, there were a couple things I wished were a little different. The first is that I felt like the story in the second book happened incredibly quickly for how built up it was. The second, more importantly, is that I wanted the found family to be a bigger focus. 

Now, so much of the plot of the two books focuses on the found family and how our main character interacts with them. Especially in the second book, everything she does seems to be primarily to preserve those around her (specifically this found family). However, the actual page time of the found family was a lot less than I expected and wanted from everyone raving about it. I loved the found family but I wanted more. For a duology focusing so much on found family, it felt like so much of it was the main character doing her own thing. That's not a bad thing, but I was expecting more of the found family dynamic at the forefront. 

Overall, this duology was incredible. The writing was beautiful, the story was addicting, the magic was fascinating, and the characters were compelling. I am so happy to have finally read these two and see what everyone else raved about. I also cannot wait to see what this author does next! 

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, June 5, 2022

May 2022 Wrap-Up + Haul

May was a very interesting month for me. I only read two books and didn't really love either. I was very busy this month and tended to turn to watching my favorite shows to relax rather than read. Oh well! I did haul eight books as well, which was quite exciting. I can only hope that June will involve more reading and less stress.

Title: Stealing Their Harley
Authors: Amanda Perry & AJ Anders
Rating: 2 // 5 stars

Title: Unwritten Rules
Author: Eliah Greenwood
Rating: 3 // 5 stars 

The first book I picked up this month was my preorder of Book of Night by Holly Black. This is the signed Waterstones edition with the gorgeous stenciled edges. I've heard good things about Holly Black's adult fantasy so I'm hoping that I'll enjoy it. Additionally, the edges on this one are stunning. I think most importantly, though, I used a gift card that got thrown away to preorder this so I couldn't cancel for a different edition without losing the money. 

Speaking of, I also got the Illumicrate edition of Book of Night this month as well. This edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges, fancy endpages, embossing on the naked hardcover, and bonus content. It's a beautiful edition, though I do think I prefer the edges on the Waterstones one. I do really like the cover change to a lighter cover as I think it was a bold choice that differentiates this edition from others. 

I picked up a copy of Payback's A Witch by Lana Harper. This one was on my wishlist and TBR from last fall (specifically around Halloween time). I didn't pick it up then, though, as I wanted to read it from the library first and I just never got to it. However, when I saw it go on sale for 1/4 the original price, I snatched it up. I adore the premise of this witchy, sapphic romance and the cover is stunning. I probably will wait to read it, though, until we're closer to spooky season.

Up next I got Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li. This is the Illumicrate edition from the April box and I'm so excited about it. I wanted a copy of this book and finding out Illumicrate were doing a special edition was so exciting. I had to wait a while, though, for this edition to come in after release. This edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges, artwork on the dust jacket, embossing, and is signed. I love it and I can't wait to read it this summer.

Then I picked up the new UK paperback of Illusionary by Zoraida C√≥rdova. I love the UK covers for this duology and I had picked up the paperback of the first book last fall when it was on sale. My plan right now is to read the duology from these paperbacks and annotate and tab them. I just want a set of this duology that is annotated and looks well-loved. 

Up next I got my preorder of the Waterstones paperback of A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. This is the paperback edition that has recently published with a bonus story at the back (that was originally included in the hardcovers). I am looking at getting the new paperbacks of this series and annotating them in the near future. However, I'm even more excited for the Barnes & Noble paperback later this year that has an exclusive cover change. 

I also grabbed Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake. This book was recently picked up for traditional publication but I knew that I wanted the indie version as well before that happened. AWYITE has also been blowing up recently online and I've heard nothing but good things. It's a bit intimidating but I'm also very intrigued to read it. 

The last book I got in May was The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. This is the Fairyloot edition that came in the May YA box. I knew this was the book in advance and I was excited for it as I've heard good things and it was on my wishlist. I'm also quite happy with the customizations on this one. It has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges, artwork on the endpages, embossing, and is signed. I love the purple changes as purple is my favorite color. However, my copy did come a bit damaged so I'm waiting to hear back from Fairyloot on if I qualify for an exchange/replacement. 

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